Dennis C. Schmidtknecht, age 70 of Cochrane, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 2, 2018. He was born on February 10, 1948 in Arcadia, the son of Elmer and Betty (Heitman) Schmidtknecht. Denny graduated from Cochrane-Fountain City (Class of 1966) and soon after enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After fulfilling his service and returning home Denny worked for Winona Auto Sales, Thornes Refrigeration and Winona Fire and Power. Recognizing his passion was motor sports, Denny with the help of his close friends began Village Honda in Winona which eventually evolved into a Honda, Suzuki and Ski-Doo dealership that proudly serviced the Winona area for almost 10 years. After closing Village Honda Denny embarked upon a career as an independent manufacturer’s representative in the automotive engine rebuilding industry. Denny’s customer base eventually grew to include accounts throughout the Midwest which led him to also create Schmidtknecht Equipment Sales that specialized in the buying and selling of used equipment. Denny’s career was entrepreneurial to say the least and was built upon a relentless work ethic that served his customer’s well. Denny found great joy in racing motorcycles, snowmobiles and building hot rods and over the years developed amazing relationships with people all over the country who shared his interest. Later in life Denny found great joy in watching his children grow families of their own and was an eager supporter of all they did. He especially enjoyed talking about their accomplishments and the CFC sports scene during his many lunches shared with his good friends at the North End. Denny very deeply wanted the best for his community and often found himself stepping into roles raising funds, organizing events and teams, and speaking on behalf of those who have served our country. While Denny’s family will miss him dearly, our community will miss a selfless leader who devoted himself to improving our community in any way that he could. Denny’s heart had no bounds for those in need, for his country, for his family, and for his religion.
Dennis is survived by his wife, Nancy of Cochrane; son, Zachary (Michelle) of Cochrane; daughter, Vanessa (Matt) Stehr of Rochester, MN; grandchildren, Tristan, Isabella and Aidan Schmidtknecht and Porter Stehr; siblings, Jani (John) Baures, Kathy (Chuck) Schultz, Joni (Jim) Gromek, John (Lynn) Schmidtknecht and Paul (Barb) Schmidtknecht; brother-in-law, Harold (Karen) Tiffany of River Falls; aunt Simone (Dick) Heitman, and numerous nieces and nephews; cousins and many dear friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, July 7, 2018 at 11:00 am at St. Lawrence Catholic Church, Alma. A visitation will be held on Friday, July 6, 2018 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Talbot Family Funeral Homes, Alma Chapel and then again one hour prior to the mass. Private burial will be held at St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Fountain City. Please share your memories and condolences online at www.talbotfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial donations be made to the Pirate Youth Athletic Association.